October 2016 Penn State Beaver Roar
LionPATH receives mixed campus reviews ALEXEY STERN Staff Writer
Now that LionPATH has been fully implemented as the official student information system at Penn State, most returning students have mixed reactions to the new system. Senior Leighton Markus said he misses how easy it was to work in eLion. “The transition between eLion to LionPATH has been very tedious. It’s tedious because (in eLion) all the categories were posted at the top of the page and easy to find,” Markus said. “But on LionPATH, I have to bother to go on different pages to just find what you’re looking for.” Markus said he’s gotten used to LionPATH, but still thinks it’s subpar compared to eLion. “The user interface just sucks in my opinion,” he said. “It seems a lot harder to navigate. Honestly if I was a freshman it would even be more confusing to me because at least as a senior, I had enough experience to at least know what I was looking for.” Freshman Jake Tarasenko said he doesn’t have much of an opinion about LionPATH. “Since I’m a freshman, I didn’t really know the other older systems so I am just fine with LionPATH.” Since thisbeginning of the semester, Junior Taja Finley said LionPATH is starting to grow on her.
Students can select classes to put in their shopping cart on LionPATH.
She said, “I don’t like how I can’t find certain things still in the new system. Billing and financial aid
was so different that it was a pain to adapt. Scheduling classes was the biggest pain; on LionPATH it is more
complicated and harder to schedule classes.” Advising Coordinator Gretchen Samchuck said she feels the pain the students are experiencing by switching to a new system, but noted that there are many enhancements with LionPATH that students don’t realize. “What is great about LionPATH is that it puts more control and power in the student’s hands,” Samchuck said. “When we still used eLion, students had to see me to change their major. But now they have the independence to change their major and even their campus through LionPATH. Samchuck said she knows that students are frustrated, but urged them to be patient and to give LionPATH a chance. One big frustration, according to Senior Instructor of Psychology Kevin Bennett, has to do with degree audits. Bennett said LionPATH makes it easier to find the major requirements for students, but degree audits have been problematic and give students too much information. He said he doesn’t like the way degree audits present information, and it’s making it harder to advise students using them. Director of Enrollment Daniel Pinchot said LionPATH has also caused problems for students with
transfer credits. The process of evaluating transfer credits is more complicated and time consuming in LionPATH, Pinchot said, and many students are still waiting for their transfer evaluations to be loaded to their record even as they prepare to schedule for the spring. Pinchot is a co-advisor of The Roar. Bennett said he’s discovered some great features in LionPATH that make it easier for students to schedule. He said the “shopping cart” function allows students to pick multiple classes and see various scheduling possibilities. Beth Hewitt, assistant to the financial officer, works with students on paying their bill, and she’s concerned that students may not be doing everything that’s expected of them in LionPATH. “With LionPATH, students have a lot more power and responsibility when it comes to paying their bills,” she said. Hewitt said students need to stay on top of their account statement and make sure to do everything on their LionPATH “To Do List.” Hewitt said her biggest challenge has been re-educating returning students on how to manage their financial aid and pay their bill. “As far as freshmen and future students, I think it will be easier for them to work with the new system.”
Students and faculty make the switch from Angel to Canvas ALEXEY STERN Staff Writer
Unlike the frustrations with the change to LionPATH, students seem to be much happier with the change from Angel to Canvas. Junior Taja Finely said she actually prefers Canvas over Angel. “Canvas is more interactive and engaging, and everything is just there to see, and now it’s a lot easier to
communicate with professors,” Finley said. “Also, now you get notifications from Canvas through email and text, instead of just having to check Angel daily. You were always wondering with Angel about new assignments and upcoming tests, but with Canvas I’m able to have peace of mind.” Senior Leighton Markus said he doesn’t mind Canvas, and in some ways says it is even better than Angel.
“A great example would be how you have a phone app for Canvas while Angel didn’t offer one,” he said. “As far as the user interface, despite the fancy colors found on Canvas, nothing really improved. The app is what really made the difference for me.” Senior Instructor of Psychology Kevin Bennett is still using Angel instead of Canvas. He said he plans on switching to Canvas, but he is just
reluctant. “It’s because I am familiar with (Angel). I’ve been doing it for 12 years. I really feel like I just mastered Angel, and I am just procrastinating on changing into Canvas,” Bennett said. “I do like Canvas for my one class, and if I had a time to switch I would,” he added. “I like it so far. I’m getting more comfortable with it and am going to launch all my classes
in Canvas next year.” Bennett said he likes how much more interactive Canvas is than Angel and plans to utilize the new improvements. Bennett said. “The biggest advantage is the easier communication,” he said. “So I plan to use it on my phone and be ready to keep in contact with students better. Canvas is clearly a better system on so many levels.”
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